Today’s Washington Post has a recap of the event at which Mayor Fenty signed the District’s marriage equality bill into law. The article makes note of the role religion played in this debate. While the focus is in the media is on the anti-gay religious leaders, there is strong religious support for marriage. That was made evident by the setting for the signing ceremony — the All Souls Church:
Although [anti-gay Bishop Harry] Jackson and other opponents tended to dominate the headlines, more than 200 local faith leaders joined to form Clergy United for Marriage.
The Rev. Rob Hardies, pastor of All Souls Unitarian, said he and the Rev. Christine Wiley, co-pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Southeast, decided to form the group when they overheard a protest by Jackson in front of the Wilson Building in May.
“We wanted to dispel the rumor that you cannot be pro-God and pro-gay,” Hardies said.
Rev. Christine Wiley and her husband, Rev. Dennis Wiley, also have an op-ed in today’s Post titled, Why Two Black D.C. Pastors support gay marriage. It’s a very thoughtful piece about race, religion and homophobia. And, it’s got a very positive message. Michael Crawford from DC for Marriage told me the Wileys were instrumental in building the religious support for the new marriage law. Here’s an excerpt from their op-ed, but read the whole thing:
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon a couple of years ago, we entered the sanctuary at Covenant Baptist Church and took our places in front of the altar, just as we had countless times before in our more than 20 years as partners in ministry. We had been united in holy matrimony ourselves in the same spot where we now stood to unite others.
As the couple walked down the aisle, we recalled the previous evening’s rehearsal, when we commended all the participants for their courage and prayed that God would be in our midst at the ceremony. When we pronounced the couple “partners for life,” we felt our prayers had been answered. It was the same feeling we had experienced so many times before when asking for God’s blessing of the union of a man and a woman. Only this time, the union was of a man and a man.
Our church is the first and only traditional black church in the District of Columbia to perform same-sex unions. We conducted our first two union ceremonies, one gay and one lesbian, in the summer of 2007. The rapid political developments that followed in our nation and our city have made us optimistic that by the summer of 2010, same-sex nuptials will be not only blessed by churches such as ours, but also sanctioned by law in the District.